Williams warns about Sophia housing problems
City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
May 12, 2003

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Deputy Mayor Robert Williams has predicted major problems will arise from the housing development now taking place in Sophia, putting the city council in an embarrassing situation.

He is fearful that the plans outlined by the Ministry of Housing and Water, for Sophia without the involvement of the council would in the end make it difficult for the municipality to manage.

The deputy mayor identified the collection of garbage, and the collection of taxes as two of the many issues which need to be sorted out with the government.

Good and Green Guyana councillor CML John who is chairman of the council’s Legal Affairs committee and a former local government minister during the Burnham regime strongly supported the views expressed by the deputy mayor.

Waste disposal
The council has approved a resolution by Town Clerk Beulah Williams dealing with the collection and disposal of waste in the city.

The resolution authorizes the Town Clerk to institute the licencing of all collectors of waste, operating within the city and that these collectors be required to pay a licence fee of $25,000 yearly.

This payment has to be made during the first of any given year before permission is given to operate as a waste collector.

The measure states that “no waste shall be transported through the city by anyone, except the cleansing officer or a licenced commercial waste collector or any other authorized person”.

At present the council is responsible for the collection and disposal of hospital waste as well as waste from the abattoir.

Household garbage is collected by private contractors employed by the council.

An embarrassment
City ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ at their last statutory meeting heard a complaint from the People’s National Congress Reform councillor Oscar Clarke about the turnout by the city constabulary’s contingent at the opening of Critchlow Week which precedes Labour Day observance.

Councillor Clarke who represented his party at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Critchlow statue in the Public Buildings compound complained about the attire of the person who was in command of the city police contingent.

According to Councillor Clarke, who leads his party’s group on the council, the member giving the command was in civilian dress instead of being attired in uniform.

It was also noted that neither the mayor nor his deputy was present to lay a wreath on behalf of the council. This was done by one of the mayor’s assistants.

The ‘chief citizen’ after apologising to the meeting explained that he was otherwise engaged looking after personal matters.

When asked for an explanation the chief constable was unable to shed any light on what had actually taken place and was instructed by the mayor who presided to get a satisfactory reply before the meeting ended.

“These absurdities are beyond belief”... and he asked the chief constable... if she was unaware of “this folly and unacceptable behaviour”. The chief constable later acknowledged that councillor Clarke was correct in his observations.

Mayor Green is now in possession of a letter from the Town Clerk in which she has clearly defined according to the by-laws, her powers as chief executive officer (CEO) and that of the mayor and his deputy.

The cash-strapped municipality has circulated to councillors a list of the attorneys-at-law who have appeared on behalf of the council. The list includes such names as Luckhoo and Luckhoo, Chapman and Trotman, Robert Corbin, Emily Dodson, Rex McKay, Keith Massiah, Robert Ramcharran, Frank James, Roysdale Forde and Basil Williams.

With the oncoming rainy season the city will now have to brace itself for heavy flooding especially in those areas which have been neglected by the council during the dry season to “make hay while the sun was shining”. Why were the canals not dug? Why most of the roads in the city have been allowed to reach a state of disrepair leaving trenches across several streets... for example parts in Queenstown and Quamina street in the vicinity of the VCT studios?

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